The iconic Nissan GT-R on display at the Johannesburg International Motor Show will become available in South Africa during the course of 2009. The Nissan GT-R is a new multi-dimensional performance machine that lives up to the concept of “an ultimate supercar enjoyable to anyone, anywhere, at anytime.
The Nissan GT-R was born with the role to demonstrate Nissan’s technology to all corners of the world. Traditionally, elements such as the roads it could be driven on, weather conditions, and driving techniques, put supercars in a market for a very limited class of users. But with the Nissan GT-R, Nissan has created a supercar that offers speed and fuel efficiency, power and clean air flow, high performance and safety.
The new Nissan GT-R may well be the most accomplished and technologically advanced high performance car ever made. One of the world’s fastest vehicles, it is also probably the world’s easiest and most secure high-speed car to drive fast. The multi-performance Nissan GT-R raced through the Nürburgring circuit – where the condition of the fearsome high-speed corner, “Kesselchen” was wet – with a time of 7m38s. A time of 7m29s was subsequently recorded in dry conditions.
Like previous versions of the legendary race-winning GT-R, the latest model is a showcase for Nissan’s engineering talents. Features include an advanced full-time four-wheel drive system that improves traction and cornering power.
This four-wheel drive system uses an independent transaxle 4WD (a world first) for greater agility. There is a brand new 353 kW V6 twin-turbo engine that combines exhilarating power with an ultra-low emission exhaust and outstanding fuel economy for a car in this category.
The lightweight body features diecast aluminium, carbon fibre and advanced steel plus a class-leading aerodynamic Cd of just 0.27. There’s a new dual-clutch paddle shift transmission that offers exceptionally fast gear shifts and the facility to drive in full automatic mode, improving ease of driving. The big 380mm ventilated Brembo disc brakes offer immense stopping performance.
It is designed for optimal high-speed performance in all road conditions. No car combines such speed, ease of driving, ability to excel in all road conditions, such exhilaration, value-for-money and distinctive style.
Race circuit testing was undertaken primarily at the Nordschleife, the historic section of the famous Nürburgring circuit in Germany. This fast, undulating, supremely challenging circuit, regarded as the world’s most demanding racing track, is widely used by car and tyre companies for testing.
The Nissan GT-R completed about 5 000kms of high-speed testing at the Nürburgring, and achieved a record breaking average time of 7m55s.
One of the many unusual tests that the Nissan GT-R had to pass, before going on sale, was to be able to cruise at 300km/h and allow easy conversation – without the need to raise voice levels. Several locations were chosen for high-speed performance testing. Stretches of German Autobahns, where there are no speed limits, were used regularly.
When it snows or rains, many supercars are left in the garage. Not the Nissan GT-R. When it rains or snows, the Nissan GT-R shines. While the Nissan GT-R has a clear advantage over most rival supercars on a racing circuit or at high-speed on the public roads, its superiority in difficult conditions – ice, rain, slush, snow – is far more noticeable. This is because of its advanced four-wheel drive system, which offers unmatched traction and handling security and the perfect weight distribution across the four corners of the car.
Most supercars feel like caged animals in the city – ill-tempered and frustrated by traffic and poor road surfaces. Not the Nissan GT-R. A simple touch of the set-up switch softens the suspension, turning this extraordinarily fast vehicle into a supple, comfortable coupe. You can even choose full automatic transmission, for an even easier ride.
The Nissan GT-R boasts a uniquely Japanese design – it is very definitely not a European or American fast car. It has a muscular, distinctive looking exterior design. Chunky, edgy, wide shouldered, ground-hugging and flat-sided, it is also one of the most aerodynamic cars in the world (Cd 0.27).
This is the first GT-R design not based on a mass-volume Nissan vehicle (the last GT-R was based on the Skyline). The element of functionality is core to the GT-R. It’s not too low; it’s easy to get in and out of, has good visibility and is easy to drive.
That functionality is reflected in the design. It is very mechanical, almost like an animated robot. Nissan steered away from an elegant shape. “I see it as a car influenced not by feminine beauty, like Italian cars, but by masculine beauty – it is strong, well toned, well muscled. It has big deep flanks and is very toned – that’s part of the muscled stance,” explains Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President, & Chief Creative Officer, Design and Brand Management, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
Overt functional touches include the kink in the rear pillar – ‘it is highly distinctive and helps rear airflow and also gives the GT-R an unusual roof line The side front fender air scoops also improve the car’s aero performance by improving airflow around the tyres, are highly distinctive and almost animalistic. They also help cool the big chested twin-turbo V6.
Good aerodynamics was a key requirement for the high-speed Nissan GT-R. Designers worked very closely with the aerodynamicists to ensure excellent air flow and good downforce essential for a car that has such a high top speed and such excellent high speed stability.
The GT-R is quite square and edgy at first glance although full of interesting curvatures and subtle shapes when you look closer. The pillars are quite upright, emphasising that this is not an impractical low-slung supercar. There are the GT-R signature four round tail lamps mirrored in the four chunky round exhausts directly below.
Like the exterior, the Nissan GT-R’s interior is stylish but highly functional. The cabin is unique, sharing no major components or design features with any other Nissan model. The Nissan GT-R is a bespoke supercar, new from the ground up.
Instruments are large, clear and simple, all directly in front of the driver for maximum legibility. The circular analogue instruments are ringed in chunky bezels and a tachometer takes pride of place, red-lined at 7 000rpm. Next to the tachometer is an easy-to-see gearshift position display.
More unusual is a multi-function display in the centre of the dash, that not only gives you a detailed log of your driving behaviour – speed, g-force, fuel economy etc – but also gives details of the car’s mechanical information – turbo boost, water and engine oil pressure, transmission oil, front/rear drive distribution plus steering angles, braking and acceleration pressure, and also optimal gearshift mapping for best fuel economy.
The design of the multi-function display was done in conjunction with Polyphony Digital Inc, designer of the Gran-Turismo video game series for Sony PlayStation.
The centre console, which sweeps through the middle of the cabin, contains a red start button, leather shift lever and parking brake, which aligns with the centre armrest. The shift lever selector chooses Park, Reverse, Neutral, Automatic or Manual, and manual gear shifts are via magnesium paddles directly behind the steering wheel. There is a full automatic gear change provision, useful in heavy traffic or when relaxing rather than sporty driving is desired.
The steering wheel is small, comfortable to hold and trimmed in soft hand-stitched leather. Switches have been placed on spokes in an orderly, logical manner.
Seats are especially designed for the Nissan GT-R. They’re heavily side bolstered for maximum lateral support and comfort. Access to front or rear seats is easy and visibility is excellent. Though the car fully engenders a special ‘sense of occasion’ once behind the wheel – thanks to the sporty cabin, dynamic performance and handling – it is a also a very ‘normal’ car in many ways, not so different from an everyday sedan. It’s roomy, comfortable, light and airy. It is much more practical and user friendly than other cars in this performance bracket.
The Nissan GT-R has the greatest range of seat adjustment of any supercar, to ensure that virtually all drivers can get comfortable behind the wheel. The driver’s seat is designed so that anyone from 144cm-190cm will feel comfortable behind the wheel.
An underlying philosophy of the Nissan GT-R is that it is a fast car that’s easy to drive fast. So there is nothing intimidating about the controls. Everything feels instantly familiar, apart from the novel multi-function meter – which is also highly intuitive and we believe will prove very popular with owners.’
Nissan’s VR38DETT is a brand new engine specially developed for the Nissan GT-R. The 3.8-litre unit uses twin IHI turbochargers. Its maximum power is 353 kW at 6 400rpm. This makes the Nissan GT-R one of the most powerful Japanese road cars and the most powerful production car ever built by Nissan.
‘More important than absolute power, is the manner in which it is delivered. The engine’s very tractable and that means it’s very easy to drive, a key quality of the Nissan GT-R. Maximum torque of 588 Nm is delivered seamlessly from 3 200-5 200rpm.
It is also a very efficient engine, reducing emissions and fuel consumption. The Nissan GT-R is the world’s most efficient supercar in balancing speed, acceleration and fuel consumption. Environmental performance is further reinforced by its satisfying Japan ’s U-LEV (ultra low emission vehicle) standards.
The engines are all hand made with one craftsman hand-assembling the entire engine. The dedicated engine builders work in a special Nissan GT-R ‘clean room’ area of Nissan’s Yokohama plant.
The Nissan GT-R uses an all-new GR6-type transmission, exclusively developed for the car. The paddle shift six-speed twin clutch gearbox is highly efficient – unlike an automatic transmission with conventional torque converter, there is minimum power loss so response and fuel economy is improved.
In M range (for manual transmission mode), the paddle shift gives exceedingly quick changes. Such quick gear changing maintains the turbo boost, so acceleration is one strong powerful seamless burst.
The twin clutches make a significant contribution to shift speed. There are separate clutches for the odd (1,3,5) and even (2,4,6) gears. When the car is running in an odd number gear, the adjacent even numbered gears are pre-selected and are ready to make the shift immediately in the sequential-shifting gearbox. When downshifting, a synchronised rev control ‘blips’ the throttle precisely to synchronise engine speed for extra-fast downshifts. Borg-Warner triple cone synchronisers are used.
When R range – the sportiest setting – is chosen on the set-up switch, a computerised control predicts the driver’s next gear change, based on throttle opening, vehicle speed, braking and other information.
The Nissan GT-R uniquely offers exceedingly quick gear shift speeds and full automatic transmission. In A (automatic transmission) range, the car changes gear automatically, in the most fuel efficient manner. Higher gears are used whenever possible, benefiting from the car’s massive 588Nm of torque, and its long and flat torque curve. The car can be driven in sixth gear for long periods at low speeds, and still offers good throttle response. Such docile behaviour is at odds with most equivalently fast supercars and is one of the many unique aspects of this technology flagship.
The ATTESA E-TS electronic traction control and rear final drive with a mechanical limited slip differential (for better power delivery) are both integrated into the surprisingly compact and light rear transaxle. By placing the input/output shafts diagonally, the transmission is flat and the car’s centre of gravity can be lowered.
The Nissan GT-R suspension offers excellent straight-line stability, even over 300 km/h, plus top-class handling and braking in all situations – from urban commutes, to snowy and slushy roads, to the racetrack. The suspension is designed around the new ‘Premium Mid-ship’ package, and takes advantage of the perfect load balance of all four wheels.
A set-up switch allows the driver to access three different suspension modes: R (high performance), Sports (the normal setting) and Comfort (for city driving to absorb road bumps). The set-up switch electronically changes the settings on the Bilstein DampTronic dampers, specially developed for the Nissan GT-R.
In R mode, the Bilsteins ensure flat, hard cornering for high-speed and maximum feedback. In the other two modes – Sport and Comfort – the dampers are electronically controlled to produce the best possible handling/ride balance (depending on which setting is chosen). Special sensors measure 11 vehicle elements including vehicle speed, lateral acceleration speed, steering angle speed, demand torque, estimate torque, engine rpm, brake fluid pressure, normal acceleration, ABS anti-lock braking behaviour and vehicle stop information.
The Nissan GT-R has huge 380mm front and rear Brembo fully ventilated drilled steel disc brakes. They give superb pedal feel as well as immense stopping power.
Brembo radially mounted monoblock six-piston callipers are used in front and the rear uses radially mounted four-piston callipers. To generate strong braking force and prevent calliper distortion, racing-style three bolt structures are used.
The new Nissan GT-R uses probably the most advanced four-wheel drive system on a road car ever used. The all-wheel drive (ATTESA E-TS) optimally distributes power to the front wheels when and if necessary. Though naturally rear-drive biased, up to 50 percent of torque can be fed forwards improving traction in difficult conditions – such as rain, frost, ice or snow. Front drive is also utilised to improve cornering performance on Tarmac, improving traction and stability.
Special computerised control automatically alters the front/rear torque split from zero torque at the front wheels, to 50 percent of total torque. The control is varied continuously, as various sensors on the car measure speed; lateral and transverse acceleration, steering angles, tyre slip and other road surface and yaw rate.
The four-wheel drive system includes a Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC-R), the Nissan GT-R’s electronic stability control system. This continually monitors the vehicle’s behaviour.
Hill Start Assist Function is added for assisting starts gradients. (On an uphill grade, the system maintains brake pressure for about two seconds after release of the brake pedal).